Poetry Friday: June 20, 2008


What is Poetry Friday?

The Poetry Friday round-up is here today. Please leave a link to your poetry post in the linky (scroll down past the poems). My poetry selections for today were written by Mr. Gilbert K. Chesterton. Or were they?

Variations of an Air

Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he
He called for his pipe
and he called for his bowl
and he called for his fiddlers three

after Lord Tennyson

Cole, that unwearied prince of Colchester,
Growing more gay with age and with long days
Deeper in laughter and desire of life
As that Virginian climber on our walls
Flames scarlet with the fading of the year;
Called for his wassail and that other weed
Virginian also, from the western woods
Where English Raleigh checked the boast of Spain,
And lighting joy with joy, and piling up
Pleasure as crown for pleasure, bade me bring
Those three, the minstrels whose emblazoned coats
Shone with the oyster-shells of Colchester;
And these three played, and playing grew more fain
Of mirth and music; till the heathen came
And the King slept beside the northern sea.

after W.B. Yeats

Of an old King in a story
From the grey sea-folk I have heard
Whose heart was no more broken
Than the wings of a bird.

As soon as the moon was silver
And the thin stars began,
He took his pipe and his tankard,
Like an old peasant man.

And three tall shadows were with him
And came at his command;
And played before him for ever
The fiddles of fairyland.

And he died in the young summer
Of the world’s desire;
Before our hearts were broken
Like sticks in a fire.

after Walt Whitman

Me clairvoyant,
Me conscious of you, old camarado,
Needing no telescope, lorgnette, field-glass, opera-glass, myopic pince-nez,
Me piercing two thousand years with eye naked and not ashamed;
The crown cannot hide you from me,
Musty old feudal-heraldic trappings cannot hide you from me,
I perceive that you drink.
(I am drinking with you. I am as drunk as you are.)
I see you are inhaling tobacco, puffing, smoking, spitting
(I do not object to your spitting),
You prophetic of American largeness,
You anticipating the broad masculine manners of these States;
I see in you also there are movements, tremors, tears, desire for the melodious,
I salute your three violinists, endlessly making vibrations,
Rigid, relentless, capable of going on for ever;
They play my accompaniment; but I shall take no notice of any accompaniment;
I myself am a complete orchestra.
So long.


22 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: June 20, 2008

  1. Thanks for hosting! I’m in with a quiz to see how well people can recognize a poem’s form.

  2. Thanks for hosting. I’m in with a quiz to see how well people can recognize a poem’s form.

  3. I’m in with Rossetti this week !

    Thanks for rounding up !

  4. Today I’m musing about “Underwear,” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

    Thanks for hosting, Sherry!

  5. Thanks for hosting the roundup! The last stanza of the after Yeats one–wow!

    I’m in with my usual 15 Words or Less poems (anyone can stop by and play) and also a how-to piece on writing diamantes.

  6. I forgot to say how much I love Chesterton’s idea. I haven’t read enough Tennyson of Yeats to remember whether or not those are believable, but it’s a good concept even if they aren’t– and the Whitman seems authentic enough.

  7. After nearly a year of searching for it, I finally located my copy of the high school writings of a well-known 20th century writer. See if you can guess who it is without Googling. And for the record, they were certainly NOT known for their poetry!

  8. SKY. CLOUDS. APPLES. by Nancy Willard this week

  9. The comment window isn’t working for me this morning; the window to type the two words never appears, though the two words do.

    Anyway, this is my last try for now, but I did want to say I like your blog’s new look! Thanks for hosting.

  10. Thanks for hosting!

  11. Thanks for hosting! I’m musing on my (very) grudging admiration of spiders, and I’ve posted Walt Whitman’s “A Noiseless Patient Spider.”

  12. Thanks so much for hosting, Sherry, and happy summer! I’m so glad that Chesterton had a sense of humor along with all those brains — bang on, those parodies, aren’t they? And what a lovely book your family is so fortunate to have! I’m in with Christopher Cranch’s “Bird Language” this week.

  13. I am in late today with an original in response to Miss Rumphius’s Poetry Stretch. Thanks for hosting!

  14. I forgot to add my poem today! I’m in with Tennyson’s poem Ulysses.

    Thanks for rounding us up!

  15. Ali

    Thanks Sherry! I love this!

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